Fighting Poverty One Farmer at a Time (Part 2)

by Abimbola Otepola, Corporate Communications Analyst, AFEX

Dalhatu Abdulazeez’s day begins at 8.00 am every morning. Before the sun has risen, he’s already at work at the Zaria warehouse, tending to the bags of grains and the disbursement of inputs to farmers. He plans, supervises, and contributes to the planting and harvesting process. As part of his morning checks, he always keeps a close tab on the growth of the farmers’ harvest, the input disbursement, and the market dynamics of the grains stored in the warehouse. But it’s the ability to support livelihoods and generate income, he tells us, that’s the most important factor of him being excited about work daily.

“I enjoy what I do because I’m enabled to help farmers eliminate the constraints that prevent them from effectively growing and selling their crops,” he says, adjusting his brown AFEX jacket.

Abdulaeez is a former classroom teacher who worked in the village for 10 years. His experience in the village exposed him to the farmers’ travails. He saw clearly how they lacked modern knowledge of on-farm practices and finances, making it nearly impossible for them to cultivate and realize high yields or sell to the right market. But for Abudlazeez and his farmer friends, joining AFEX’s operations opened a new chapter in their lives.

“Joining AFEX presented me with an opportunity to grow as an individual and as a manager. Through the company, I’ve been able to invite farmers around me and they can attest to the transformation they experience on their farms based on the programs we execute here.

Today more than ever, farmers need access to the right agronomic practices and techniques so they can produce more and become financially included in the system and the AFEX outreach and financing program is a key to prosperity for farmers.

Most times they come around to the warehouse and enquire about our services and how it can be beneficial to them. When they come around we provide them with loan disbursement that can be applied on the farms and cultivated for higher yields.”

The outreach and financing program Abdulazeez references is AFEX’s Input Financing Program, which begins with farmer outreach carried out alongside fundraising efforts ahead of the planting season. Interested farmers are profiled for their eligibility to receive loans. This involves some of the following processes: data capturing/ validation on AFEX’s value chain management platform (WorkBench), applicant credit history check and input loan application.

To ensure that farmers are aware of the program requirements, pre-farming training and loan program education activities are conducted. Farmers who are eligible are given the loan in kind — they receive inputs (seeds, Crop Protection Products, fertilizer) as opposed to cash. The inputs are disbursed based on the loan bundle they opt for which is a function of their land size and ability to pay for the equity that is required to trigger the loan.

Abdulazeez tells us about one of the beneficiaries of the program to illustrate the change being made at that level.

“A beneficiary of this program is Mogaji Aska who I brought in to register with the farmers Association. Before AFEX, he was practicing the local method of farming and that limited his abilities to harvest more grains. Today, he delivers trucks filled with grains to the warehouse for sale. Improvements like this don’t just make us a food-secure nation alone but help even the farmers become rich.

I look at my life and it’s been a long way coming from having nothing to living in abundance. Most importantly, the ability to help farmers around me come out of poverty and become self-reliant gives me the hope and joy that life can be better when you are in the right environment like AFEX.”

Abdulazeez and our other field Xperts do vital work everyday that directly impacts rural farmers and communities, actively contributing to the fight against poverty and hunger.

Watch out for the next part in our next post.

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